Sunday, 19 January 2014

Bukarts' Snipes Aid Brandon Win

Rihards Bukarts scored twice in Brandon's 4-3 victory
in Saskatoon on Saturday.
  The Brandon Wheat Kings moved into sole possession of first-place in the Western Hockey League’s East Division with a 4-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night.

  Rihards Bukarts scored twice for Brandon including the game-winning goal with 7:34 left in the third period.

  “I thought he played really well the entire game, and was dangerous every time he had the puck,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ’s post-game show, “Scored two big goals for us and I thought just had a really solid game for our team tonight.”

  Bukarts first goal came after the marketing timeout midway through second period that tied the game 2-2 after helping turn the momentum after Saskatoon had control the first half of the second period, scoring twice to take a 2-1 lead.

  The Latvian import is now tied for fourth in rookie scoring with 17 goals and 34 points as he enjoys a stellar freshman season in the WHL.

  “There’s a transition for those first-year players and there’s a transition for him to adjust to the North American game,” added McCrimmon, “We’ve seen all year all of the good things he can do with the puck but he’s really taken a step in his game.”

  Richard Nejezchleb and Ryan Pilon also scored for Brandon on Saturday while Curtis Honey stopped 33 shots in the Wheat Kings’ net.

  Brandon is now alone atop the East Division standings, one point ahead of Regina and two up on the Swift Current Broncos.

  “There’s a point where you need to have guys sort of say ‘why not us’,” said McCrimmon, “I think guys are getting some confidence and feeling that we’re worthy and that we can play with all of those other top teams.”

  Brandon is idle until Wednesday when they’ll visit the Swift Current Broncos.

Chaff...D Eric Roy (illness), F Brett Kitt (healthy) and F Tyler Coulter (healthy) were Brandon's scratches on Saturday...Saturday's win was the Wheat Kings' 25th of the season, one more than the team had all of last year...Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon is eight wins shy of tying Bob Lowes for the most wins by a coach in franchise history.

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